Panda Global’s Zain in 2018 was already pegged to be a future star in Melee, but no one knew it would come this quickly.
Zain went on an immaculate run at Shine 2018 as he ran through Top 8 with relative ease. Zain defeated two Melee “Gods” in order to secure his win, beating C9’s Mango once and beating Liquid’s Hungrybox twice (Winner’s Finals and Grand Finals.)
Zain already showed flashes of brilliance back in May, as he earned enough votes to be entered into Smash Summit. It was there that Zain defeated C9’s Mango and Panda Global’s Plup, two of his best wins at the time. He unfortunately fell to future 1st and 2nd place competitors in EchoFox’s Mew2King and Alliance’s Armada.
It can be argued that Shine 2018 is not only Zain’s best performance, but the way he won in such a dominant fashion suggests a new Melee “God” may be on the horizon. Zain is only 21 while many of the best Melee players are in their mid to late twenties. He has plenty of time to grow and improve and may prove to be a top six Melee player in the coming years.